Following on from my last blog post, I've just bought another calendar print. As I mentioned in my last post, elements from the series Hana Moyō (Patterns for Flowers), by Kobayashi Kiyochika, were adapted for use in a woodblock printed calendar that was published to advertise the Deer and Stag brand of the Kawamata Silk Refining Company of Yokohama in 1910. The design I've just bought is that for the month of November.
You may remember that it was the main subject of The Tenpō Era triptych of 1896 that was adapted for the December calendar sheet of 1910. For the November sheet, elements of Kiyochika's triptych for The Kan'ei to Shōhō Era (see image below) have been adapted for the vertical calendar print, but this time two figures have been taken from the background of the triptych; the main subject of the original triptych has been ignored.
If you compare the figures pictured in the calendar print above with the couple shown in the original triptych below (see image right for detail), you can see that, whilst they remain essentially the same characters, a few changes were necessary in order to transform the figures from being a small part of the original large composition to being the sole focus of the smaller one of 1910.
According to the text alongside the title cartouche, the woman depicted in the above triptych is the courtesan Takao. Eleven separate women of the Miuraya, one of the most famous bordellos of the pleasure quarter, took the name Takao during the seventeenth to mid eighteenth centuries, and each one was famous for a different reason. Takao I is sometimes portrayed with a procession that includes a wet nurse and child,1 so she seems to be the one referred to here.
The poem included alongside the title cartouche is from the poetry anthology Hyakunin isshu (One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets). It is by Mibu no Tadami and goes:
|Koi su tefu
Waga na wa madaki
Tachi ni keri
Hito shirezu koso
Omoi someshi ga.
|Yes, I am in love.
They were talking about me
Although I began to love
Without knowing it.2
1 Lindsey, William R. Lindsey, Fertility and Pleasure: Ritual and Sexual Values in Tokugawa Japan, 2007.
2 This translation is by Kenneth Rexroth. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, published in 1964.